Let’s not beat about the bush, last night was horrible. It was a dreadful experience, and all the more dreadful because there was a depressing predictability about it all. The first half was good, but misleading. The second half simply does not bear thinking about.
James Forrest was harshly treated. In fact it was an outrageous decision. The point however is that the game was already lost by then. There is no point in pointing fingers at Mikael Lustig, Jack Hendry or Olivier Ntcham. These guys will be hurting just as much as we are. The fault lies far, far deeper than that.
I laughed when I read someone saying that “Celtic have lost their swagger”. They never have had any swagger in Europe, not at least since the days of Martin O’Neill. There has been the odd good result in Europe, mostly home games, but apart from that, our involvement in Europe has been a total disgrace.
It was as well that we did not qualify for the Champions League this year. Our performances would have been even more embarrassing than last night’s. Salzburg were good, but they were not great. I would love to say that “the Celts of old would not have seen them in their way”, but I would have to go back to the days of Jimmy Johnstone and Bobby Murdoch to back up that contention.
Brendan Rodgers’ big shortcoming so far has been his inability to persuade his players that they can do better in Europe. Like far too many Celtic teams in Europe in recent years, last night’s team went on to the field expecting to lose – and lose they did! There was no arrogance, no confidence, no belief – and we have been here so often in the past! It was so predictable!
So where do we go from here?
The short, smart answer is of course Perth, and the League has to remain our priority. We are not likely to win the Europa League in any case, but before we give up altogether, maybe there is still something we can try – and that is to “have a go” in Leipzig in three weeks time.
Let’s forget all this emphasis on defending in Europe – it should now be totally apparent that we cannot play that sort of game – and let’s try a wee bit of arrogance and confidence.
I honestly feel that it is going to be difficult to persuade people like me to get ourselves in front of a TV screen for the Leipzig game, but if we do, let us watch a Celtic performance that is worthy of the name. At least last night we wore the green and white – is it too late for me to appeal, incidentally, that we do likewise against St Johnstone? – but we did not play like Celtic.
Let us play like Celtic as well. Don’t let’s lie back and wait for it to happen. If we get an early lead, let’s hold the ball, distribute it to each other and try to score again! In short, play the game “the good old Celtic way”.
In short, let us fight back! The players, I hope, are hurting. So are we all. We now have several points to prove. It may be that we got the worst of things politically this week. But it is simply not good enough to sit back and blame Neil Doncaster, freemasons or the Daily Record.
Let us now prove our point by winning on the field. Why should we be afraid, yes afraid, to play Hearts in Edinburgh? A good team will win anywhere. We must start to believe in ourselves.
Mr Rodgers is now indeed at the crossroads. He must now lead, he must now motivate, he must now inspire. The Celtic fightback must begin on Sunday. Let’s wear green and white hoops (forget all that nonsense about commercial obligations that make us wear urine yellow!) and wear them with pride. We seem to have forgotten something of late. We are CELTIC!
But, oh, the agony of last night!
More reaction on The Celtic Star to Salzburg 3 Celtic 1…
‘There is a sense of shock and awe,’ admits red carded Celtic star…SEE HERE.
Brendan bemoans poor ball retention, rules Broony out, McKenna loses appeal & Ann Budge…..SEE HERE.
‘Are we ever going to learn?’ it’s an unhappy Celtic Noise tonight...SEE HERE.
Salzburg 3 Celtic 1 – Turbulent Times in the Austrian Alps…SEE HERE.